Big changes coming to auto industry, but not for decades

Some vehicle technologies – automated driver assist systems, connected and automated vehicle technologies, and advanced powertrains – have the potential to transform not only the vehicle, but the entire automobile industry. But change will be gradual, with just 3.8 percent of new vehicles sold in 2030 autonomous-capable, ramping up to 55 percent in 2040, says a new report by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR).


“The period where conventional personal vehicles and automated, connected, electric and shared vehicles will coexist on U.S. roadways will last decades,” the report says.


Automakers are investing heavily in vehicle electrification and autonomy, but consumer acceptance is lagging, especially in the U.S., the report says. There’s also a disconnect between what consumers say they want and what they buy. Although 18 percent of Americans surveyed said they prefer hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs), the current market share of those vehicles is just 3.3 percent.


For most U.S. consumers, electrification and fuel efficiency are not high priorities. As the market has shifted from passenger cars to SUVs to CUVs, “the U.S. consumer has shown a penchant for increased performance,” CAR says, especially as defined by horsepower.


As for the effect of ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft, the report says they could dampen car sales because more people will decide not to own a car, mostly in denser urban areas. But higher vehicle turnover and the shorter life expectancy of vehicles used by mobility services will offset some of the sales losses. CAR does expect less private ownership of vehicles.

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